Holton cum Beckering*
WELCOME to our 2018 Churches Festival - a celebration of a rich architecture and heritage, of beautiful tranquillity and spirituality. This year many of our churches will be paying special tribute to those who lost their lives during the First and Second World Wars as well as celebrating the 100th anniversary of the formation of the RAF. Churches are open 8th - 9th September 2018

45 reasons to visit Lincolnshire this September

Every church has a story to tell, and none more so than from a group of churches situated 20 miles east of Lincoln on the fringe of the Lincolnshire Wolds.  Following on from the success of its inaugural festival last year, the Horncastle and Villages Churches Festival will see 45 churches and chapels open their doors on the 8th and 9th September.

With free entry to all, each building hides a story simply waiting to be discovered, providing a memorable encounter with heritage and atmosphere.  And with the backdrop of the Lincolnshire Wolds, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on one side and the tranquil water of the River Witham on the other, what better place to spend a late summer’s weekend retreat.


The event brings together many rural communities, with churches offering homemade bakes and lunches, bell ringing, crafts, book sales and exhibitions such as displays on local history or children’s artwork.   And with this year many of our churches are commemorating two significant dates. This part of Lincolnshire is rich in aviation heritage and the festival is featuring exhibitions celebrating 100 years since the formation of the RAF. Other villages are commemorating the 100th anniversary of the of WWI.  High Toynton is a “double thankful” village – a term coined by Arthur Mee after the first World War to pay thanks to all their servicemen returning home.  At High Toynton, one of only 14 villages in the UK, all servicemen from both world wars safely returned home.

Over 100 volunteers open up their churches, ensuring they are on hand to answer questions on the buildings and point out quirky details visitors would not want to miss.  And, of course, to tell those hidden stories that are just waiting to be discovered.


“The weekend promises to be one of discovery,” states Linda Patrick, one of the organisers of the festival.  “these stories are just waiting to be told…  For instance,  who would have thought St Lawrence Church at Bardney was built just because the villagers made a nuisance of themselves at the nearby abbey?" 

Or that vicars at the tiny villages of Belchford and Snelland were both hung for committing treason? 

And where did those scythes above the Lady Chapel arch in Horncastle St Mary’s really come from?”

 Come and explore this part or Lincolnshire and find out more quirky tales of intrigue and mystery…..

Or perhaps peace and solitude is what you desire?  There is a selection of churches that will simply be open, to allow their quiet oasis and tranquillity spread peace throughout the visitor.

The Churches Festival is being staged the same weekend as the popular Lincolnshire Heritage Open Days event so there are even more places to visit whilst in the area.

The Horncastle Churches Festival Success Story

There are even more reasons to celebrate at these groups of churches.  Thanks to the generous donations of Lottery players, the National Churches Trust were are to receive National Lottery funding to deliver the “Great Interpretations” project.  Focusing on the churches in the Horncastle area the project aims to help people across Lincolnshire to get to know their churches, record priceless treasures and promote their heritage to audiences far and wide.


Linda sums up the festival by saying “There certainly is a buzz in the air…  our church heritage is important for many reasons, it is such a part of our social history and gives is the answers to so many questions about how and why our towns and villages came to be."

This festival has been part funded through the Lincolnshire Wolds Small Grant Scheme and The Diocese of Lincoln Transformation Fund

* all photos on this page Ashley Taylor of Push Creativity for the National Churches Trust - Explore Churches website